Rodtang Puts Friendship Aside Against Superlek
At ONE Friday Fights 34, fans will witness a special main event that has been a long time in the making. ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang Jitmuangnon will defend the gold against #1-ranked contender and ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Champion Superlek Kiatmoo9. After more than a year of clamoring for this fight, ONE Championship will put it front and center on Friday, September 22.
The match looked like it could happen in the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Grand Prix. However, Rodtang withdrew from the tournament due to injury. The match was scheduled previously for ONE Fight Night 8, but the titleholder once again had to bow out. But Rodtang assures everyone it was only a matter of time before the two squared off inside the ring.
“I already knew that someday we would have to face each other because there’s no one left in the rankings except Superlek and the newcomer, Takeru [Segawa]. And now Jonathan Haggerty is in another division [bantamweight]. So, I have to fight with Superlek, for sure. It is not just the fans who anticipate this fight. I do too,” Rodtang told ONE.
The long-awaited matchup will grace the hallowed halls of Lumpinee Boxing Stadium. It will be the perfect venue with a raucous crowd for these two outstanding strikers. However, they share more than just being at the top of the flyweight division. The two Thai superstars are friends outside of competition.
While that could be an issue for some, it is not for “The Iron Man”. He can put aside their friendship and compete without any animosity. When the bell sounds, and the winner is declared, they will go right back to being pals.
“It’s not hard at all [to compete against a friend]. Outside the ring, we are brothers in arms. We respect each other. But when we have to fight, we will leave the friendship behind. We will never let friendship influence us, as we are fighters in the ring,” Rodtang stated.
Heading into the matchup, many pundits and fans alike have given the edge to “The Kicking Machine”. His incredible run through the flyweight divisions in both kickboxing and Muay Thai has made him look unstoppable. But Rodtang is not letting any of the chatter bring him down, as he expects to deliver another exciting performance to defend the title.
“I don’t care about those comments. I just go there to do my job and do my best. I don’t want to silence anyone. Let them watch me in the ring. If Superlek happens to make a mistake, I can knock him out. It’s just as simple as that.”
ONE Friday Fights 34 airs live across all ONE Championship platforms on Friday, September 22. The event hails from Bangkok, Thailand, and Lumpinee Boxing Stadium. The action begins at 8:30 a.m. ET/5:30 a.m. PT.